NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. -- A slow start proved to be too much to overcome for the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team in a 47-38 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference loss at Manchester University Saturday.
Sophomore Carrie Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) led the Fightin' Engineers with 12 points and freshman Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) added 10 points in the setback.
The Fightin' Engineers (8-13, 6-8 HCAC) fell behind 19-3 (9:38) to start the game as Manchester (11-10, 8-6) took control early. The Spartans led 27-12 at the half.
Rose-Hulman came out of the locker room with a spark, however, as the Engineers opened the second half on a 11-4 run to trim the lead to eight, 31-23, with 11:03 to play. Morris drained two jumpers and a pair of free throws during the span.
The two teams traded baskets in the final 10 minutes, with Manchester extending its lead to 11 points (40-29) with 5:50 left in the game. The Engineers still would not quit, as a Marshall layup with 28 seconds left cut the lead to seven (45-38), the smallest deficit since the opening minutes.
But the Spartans held on, as Katie Arterburn drained two free throws to seal the home victory.
Senior Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) pulled down a game-high seven boards and freshman Kristen Belyea (Mahomet, Ill./Mahomet Seymour) added six points on two 3-pointers for the Engineers.
Rose-Hulman shot 35 percent (14-of-40) for the game, compared to 34.9 percent (15-ofo-43) for Manchester. The Engineers held a slight edge on the boards, 33-30.
Erynn Meiklejohn was the lone Spartan in double figures with 13 points.
Rose-Hulman now stands in a three-way tie for sixth place in the HCAC standings with Earlham and Defiance, though the Engineers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Defiance.
The top six teams advance to the HCAC tournament, which begins Feb. 28.
The Engineers travel to Hanover (Feb. 12) and Bluffton (Feb. 15) before returning to Hulbert Arena for their final home matchup against Franklin Feb. 19. RHIT concludes the regular season with a road game at Mount St. Joseph Feb. 22.